Whether you're looking to increase your Facebook fan page “likes”, raise attendance at your shows, or boost the visibility of a new video you just filmed, Facebook advertising is a tool you should be adding to your kit.
A lot of musicians have doubts around the pay-to-play nature of Facebook marketing, but the reality is that, even if your organic reach is down, there's no way for you to expose your content to the sheer number of people you now can with advertising.
I've conducted some experiments of my own, and I've also helped other musicians with their ads. Those who choose to use it tend to get hooked pretty quickly, because paid advertising is a passive form of promotion. It's great for those who can't constantly be interacting with fans on social media and cranking out new blog posts all day long, but have a bit of a budget to spend.
Plus, Facebook provides you with extensive stats on how your campaign performs. This makes it easy for you to adjust your strategy with future campaigns.
So let's get into the step-by-step process you can use to take advantage of paid Facebook advertising.
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Step 1 – Log In And Create An Ad
Log in to Facebook as you normally would, and go to the Advertising on Facebook page. From there, click on the “Create Ad” button to start building your campaign.
Step 2 – Choose Your Objective
Facebook gives you 10 campaign types to choose from. They are:
- Boost your posts
- Promote your Page
- Send people to your website
- Increase conversions to your website
- Get installs of your app
- Increase engagement in your app
- Reach people near your business
- Raise attendance at your event
- Get people to claim your offer
- Get video views
As you can see, there are really only a few relevant campaign types for musicians. “Boost your posts”, “Promote your Page”, “Send people to your website”, “Raise attendance at your even”, and “Get video views” are the ones I use most.
You can use the “Boost your posts” option if you have a well-engaged post that you want to amplify. It might be an important announcement or a blog post that's helping you connect with fans and increase email subscribers. Use this option only if you have a larger following and you want to reach more of your followers with a post that's already getting attention.
“Promote your Page” can be great for increasing the number of “likes” on your page, while “Send people to your website” is a really good option if you have a landing page or a “book us” page that you want to send people to.
The “Raise attendance at your event” option should be fairly self-explanatory, while “Get video views” is only useful when you've uploaded a video to Facebook, you want people to view it, and you don't necessarily need them to take another action (you can still include a call to action – just don't expect it to convert a lot).
Depending on the campaign type you select, you will have to select a post, a Facebook page, a web address, an event, or a video to move to the next step.
Step 3 – Set Audience & Budget
How well do you know your audience?
I ask, because you have a much better chance of reaching similar people if you know what age range they are in, what likes and dislikes they have, how they like to use the internet, and so on.
At this stage of creating your campaign, you get to:
- Choose a location. For example, if you know that you're going to be playing a show in Boston, you could have your ad shown to people that live in Boston and in a 25 mile radius.
- Choose an age range. You might target 18 to 35 if you've generally found that these are the people showing up at your shows. It all depends on your fan base.
- Choose a gender. In most cases, you would probably select “All”, but if your targeting is heavily slanted towards men or women (like if you were putting on a Mothers' Day show), you might choose one or the other.
- Choose languages. Most of the time, you would just enter English.
- Choose interests. This is the most powerful targeting tool, and one you should give some thought to. You can enter specific artist or band names, so if you know that you sound like them, and people would like you if they like them, you should enter those acts in this field.
- Choose behaviors and categories. In a majority of cases, I do not use these options, but I will say that the “Behaviors” one is interesting because you can choose people who use a specific type of mobile device, as an example.
Once you're done setting the audience, it's time to set your daily budget.
Facebook will tell you what your estimated daily reach will be based on the numbers you enter, so keep an eye on that as you make adjustments.
$5 is a good starting point for anyone that's new to Facebook advertising (Facebook won't allow you to go any lower). You'll want to run your ad for about a month just to get a sense of how well it's doing, but if you don't have $150 in your marketing budget, you probably shouldn't be getting into ads in the first place.
You can choose to have your ad run continuously, meaning you will be charged on an ongoing basis, or you can set a start and an end date. If you can't be bothered to check in often, then the latter option is definitely the better one.
Step 4 – Customize The Appearance Of Your Ad
After setting your audience and budget, you can choose what text, images, videos, or call to actions you want to include in your ad. Customize until you are happy with how it appears.
Some basic copywriting can really help with driving up engagement. It can be helpful to ask questions (i.e. Is this the best band you HAVEN'T heard yet?), include numbers in your headline (i.e. The 12 Songs That Will Have You Dancing into the Night), or make it educational (i.e. How to be a part of the “in crowd” with the latest album release).
These are just basic examples, and you'll want to come up with your own. Check BuzzFeed headlines for ideas.
Step 5 – Launch Your Campaign
You're done! Launch your campaign, and continue your music career activities as normal. Don't sit around and wait to see what happens – get back to your regular creative and marketing routines.
Step 6 – Experiment, Measure & Tweak
I hate to say it, but odds are your first campaign won't be a success. The good news is that the reasons should become fairly obvious to you, as long as you make it a point to pay attention to the stats Facebook provides you with.
I have yet to see a single instance where the first ad a band puts up is the one that explodes. But the second or third one definitely can be.
Be willing to experiment. Try different things. Make little tweaks. You will eventually find a formula that works for you.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I advise against playing with borrowed money or going into debt to advertise on Facebook. Chances are good that it won't end well.
But if you have a little bit of play in your budget, and you want to supercharge your marketing, then ads can greatly enhance whatever efforts you're already putting in.
And, as I said, advertising is a passive form of marketing. You do have to pay for it, but it can work for you even while you're doing other things. If nothing else, it can get your name out there and increase your visibility online.